03/07/2014 06:20 BST | Updated 01/09/2014 06:59 BST

How Self Aware Are You?

I am much more self aware now than I have ever been. It has taken a long time and a lot of learning and practice.

When I was in my teens and even up to my early 40s I had very little self awareness. I plodded along doing what I was told to do, manipulated by so many people. I was so totally not self aware I didn't even notice that I was living my life on other people's terms.

It is only since I began training to be a life coach that I have really discovered myself and discovered my own self awareness. I have found that to be able to grow into my own self-awareness I have to understand my feelings and emotions. This was quite a difficult journey for me, as I have suppressed feelings and emotions for many years. The reason - I was told by my parents when I was a child that I should be seen and not heard. I was told that I should not express anger or display any emotion. And so I learned to repress them.

Having this understanding now after learning so much about my feelings and emotions and rediscovering who I am really am, I know that I can express my feelings and emotions. And this is a huge step for me towards self-awareness. But what does self-awareness do for me and for you? What are the benefits to me and to you? Being self-aware gives the opportunity and freedom to change those things we want to change about our lives and create the lives that we want. I now don't allow others to manipulate me. I live my life on my terms. I am seen and heard and I do express my feelings and emotions.

The more clarity I get about who I am and what I want, and of course why I want it, the more I empower myself to consciously make those wants a reality. But, how do I get this clarity? I turn to the expert - ME. I know more about myself than anyone else, I know I have been manipulated and by whom. I know I have suppressed my feelings and emotions, and I know why. And I have got to know myself even better over the past few years by becoming so much more self aware. I am, of course, still learning.

To get the clarity I want I have learned to ask myself questions and expect specific answers. The more specific my answers, the more impact they have on my life and then I have a much clearer picture of me. Of course, there are times when my answer is 'I don't know' and I know that is okay too. I give myself the freedom to take a wild guess and this allows me to carry on. What I have discovered is that I really do know more than I ever thought I did.

Honesty is vital in my answers to myself. It will lead to my true self awareness, but it does take a lot of courage. It is the courage to face my fears or to face something I find difficult to accept about myself. For instance, I know that I am impatient and want things to happen now. By being totally honest with myself I take ownership of my actions, thoughts and feelings and find those beliefs that are no longer serving me. Those beliefs can then be discarded, altered or whatever feels right for me.

I know that whatever I discover about myself I can handle with ease and acceptance. I trust that whatever I discover about myself will in some way lead to a greater sense of me and increased self-awareness. Hopefully you can improve your self awareness too.